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Glenn Gostick died at the age of 83 on Tuesday, March 15. Glenn was a longtime SABR member and a charter member of the Halsey Hall Chapter. He attended the first meeting of Minnesota members in August 1981 and gave a research presentation at the event. Three times Glenn was a featured guest at Halsey Hall Chapter meetings, serving on a panel of former Northern League players in 1990, on official scorers panel in 1997, and on a Minnesota Gophers panel in 2004.
Gos was one of the most respected baseball minds in Minnesota and one of the worlds great characters.
Glenn was born January 27, 1928 and graduated from North High School in Minneapolis. A lifelong friend from high school, Dick Cassidy, was always introduced as the second-greatest athlete ever from North High School, by Gos, leaving no doubt as to who was the greatest.
He served in the Army and was captain of the First Calvary Division baseball team, which was All-Pacific Area champions in 1947. He then attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a degree in physical therapy and a minor in physical education. He later did post-graduate work at Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the University of Colorado Medical Center. Glen was an instructor of physical education at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland from 1955 to 1958 and the University of Minnesota form 1961 to 1968.
While at Minnesota, Gos was the starting catcher on Dick Sieberts teams from 1949 to 1951. He played professional baseball for the Duluth Dukes of the Northern League in 1952 and in 1953 for Mayville (Kentucky) in the Kitty League and Muskogee (Oklahoma) of the Western Association. A story he related often was of padding his assist total by boxing third strikes so he could throw the batter out at first. I never lost a man, either, he said. Of course, I never did it with major league scouts in the stands. His statistics back up his claim; he had 73 assists in 94 games with Mayfield. On the down side, he had 21 errors and 11 passed balls.
His resume in baseball and as an athletic trainer is impressive. Glenn was an instructor for Sieberts summer baseball camps from 1958 to 1961 and served as interim head coach for the Gophers in 1959 during Sieberts tour of Japan to conduct instructional clinics for the Air Force. He was also the teams assistant coach in the 1960s and was part of the national championship teams in 1960 and 1964.
Glenn was an instructor for Twins clinics when the team moved to Minnesota in 1961 and later served as director of the clinics. During the 1960s he was also the director, coach, and advisor to the baseball associations in Sweden and The Netherlands. He managed the Huron (South Dakota) team in the collegiate Basin League in 1962 and later coached baseball in Drayton, North Dakota, and Wadena, Minnesota. While in Wadena, in 1964, Gos met Pete Hepokoski, who was then the public-address announcer and reporter for the Wadena newspaper and is now a Halsey Hall chapter member. When Pete came to the University of Minnesota, Glenn encouraged him to become the student manager for the baseball team. (Pete added that his most vivid memory of Gos in Wadena was his climbing the light towers at the ballpark to change bulbs.)
Glenn umpired amateur, high school and college baseball starting in 1969 and was the official scorer for Major League Baseball for Minnesota Twins home games in the 1980s. He tired of the flak he received from Twins manager Tom Kelly in 1988 for calling too many errors and resigned rather than lower his standards.
Gos was a trainer for Minneapolis Lakers games in the National Basketball Association, serving for the visiting teams in the early to mid-1950s and then for the Lakers in their final two years in Minneapolis. He was the trainer for the Minnesota Junior Stars hockey team from 1969 to 1972, including one year when Herb Brooks was coach, and for the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1977. He also was the trainer for the U. S. National Junior hockey team in Sweden and the U. S. National hockey team in the world tournament in Poland in 1976.
In the 1980s, Glenn was director of sports medicine at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. He kept himself fit and completed the Boston Marathon at least once. Pete Hepokoski remembers his involvement with the Gophers baseball team. Each winter practice in the fieldhouse concluded with the players running a mile. Gos ran with them and usually beat most of them.
Armand Peterson came across a Minneapolis Tribune article (Gostic [sic] Sparks North Side Surge, Sunday, August 14, 1955) that concludes with another tidbit about Goss conditioning:
Glen Gostic, adept baseball catcher for over 10 years in high school, college and the pro leagues, has helped spark North Side into the Park National playoffs this seasonfrom center field. He is one of three catchers on the team, but he has played centerfield since joining the team in mid-season. His hitting and play in center field has helped our drive to a playoff position, says North Side manager Ray (Soup) Campbell. North Side has clinched fourth place and a berth in the post-season playoffs. Gostic is hitting .346 and is a student of the game. He carries a rule book at all times. Gostic figured his best season was in 1953 when he hit .282 and caught regularly at Mayfield, KT. Last year Gostic, a firm believer in keeping in top condition, rode a bicycle 1400 miles to Melbourne, FL, the minor league spring training facility for the New York Giants.
Although he studied computer programming at the University of Minnesota in the late 1960s, Gos had an aversion to computers as he cranked out his stats, many of which were precursors to the more advanced formulas with statistics such as Ability to Advance Self and Ability to Advance Runners. Glenn often noted that the 1962 Twins may have made up their five-game deficit to the Yankees in 1962 had they had someone with a better ability to get on base than Vic Power in the number-two spot in the batting order. Behind Power and leadoff hitter Lenny Green were Rich Rollins, Harmon Killebrew, and Bob Allison. Gos raved about the ability of Rollins, a rookie that year, to advance runners. Later in the 1960s, Rollins used Gosticks numbers to help negotiate a contract with Calvin Griffith of the Twins in 1968 and also used his statistics in contract negotiations with the Seattle Pilots in 1969.
Glenn was particularly taken by the work of Earnshaw Cook in Percentage Baseball, especially Cooks table of the probability of scoring a run as influenced by the position of the runner and the number of outs. Glenn brought up these percentages with an application of the data in all situations, including on a summer baseball show he hosted on KTCA Channel 2 during the 1960s.
Pete Hepokoski recalled a sneer he produced from Glenn upon letting him know that he could enter his numbers much easier on a computer. Every year up to and including last season, Glenn sent friends a handwritten list of the top hitters and pitchers in the majors under the title, The Word of Gos. He also maintained a list of Minnesota-born major leagues and helped build the list by coming up with birth certificates to prove that Roger Maris and Rube Walberg were born in the state when the Macmillan Baseball Encylopedia showed their birthplaces as Fargo, North Dakota, and Seattle, Washington, respectively.
Gos was always eager to encourage people and share his knowledge. Joel Rippel, a longtime editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said, When I first started out stringing for UPI [United Press International] in the late 70s and early 80s, I learned a lot from Glenn. I always enjoyed listening to him.
Glenn was a thrifty man and also a generous one. In the 1980s, he lent me his library of Official Baseball Guides published by The Sporting News (a treasure too valuable for most people to let out of their house) so I could compile statistics on the Minneapolis Millers. I got to my first World Series, in 1982, thanks to tickets Gos was able to come up with for the three Cardinals-Brewers games played in Milwaukee.
Just as he eschewed computers, Glenn normally avoided other modern conveniences such as telephones. Friends contacted him by leaving messages with the Twins or at his workplaces, when he had an actual job, or by sending letters (sometimes having to leave a note on the door of his home in north Minneapolis if the message was urgent). However, he did have a phone in his home for a brief time in 1994, and callers were greeted with the message, Im in a meeting with Jack Kevorkian right now, and when were finished Id be happy to return your call. John McNeil forwarded a 2007 letter from Glenn that began, Sorry to be so tardy but Anna Nicole Smith has been on my case these past weeks.
When Gos attended events, his nametag was more likely to read Enos Slaughter than Glenn Gostick. For many years, his holiday greeting card sent to friends consisted of a picture of him posed next to the grave of a Baseball Hall of Famer.
A lifelong bachelor, Glenn noted that this put him in the company of some very distinguished men, such as Socrates, Michelangelo, President James Buchanan, and Ed Gein.
Glenn moved to Montrose, Colorado, where he had family, in 2009 and is leaving his body to the University of Colorado Medical School.
Former chapter member Dan Carey died of brain cancer at the age of 61 on March 19. Dan was an ace lefthander at Hastings High School, along with his right-handed brother Dave, who signed with the New York Mets in 1967 (while Dave went to the University of Minnesota and pitched for the Gophers). Dan pitched in the minors until 1973. Dan presented at the chapters spring meeting in 2003 on measurements for pitchers being considered for the Hall of Fame.
(Armand Peterson provided the black-and-white photos used in this article.)
The chapter meeting will be at the Grace University Lutheran Church, 324 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, 612-331-0125. Parking is in lot AA, across Harvard Street from the church. The meeting will begin at 8:45 (registration at 8:00). Bill Smith will be on at 9:00, followed by research presentations. The meeting will end after lunch to give people time to get to the Twins-Brewers game at Target Field at 3:10.
Registration for the meeting is $10, which includes lunch. There is also a meeting-only price of $5. Those wanting lunch must RSVP to Howard Luloff at 763-208-1637, firstname.lastname@example.org, by May 7.
Research presentations: Kevin Hennessy will present Rollie Hemsley and the First Anonymity Break for Alcoholics Anonymous, and Armand Peterson will make a presentation on the article he is writing for the 2012 SABR convention on the history of amateur and semi-pro baseball in Minnesota. Joe OConnell will present on highlights of the holiday doubleheaders between the St. Paul Saints and Minneapolis Millers. If time allows, Dan Levitt will present on John McGraw Fights His Way Through Early Prohibition, a presentation he will be doing at the SABR convention in Long Beach this summer.
At the business meeting during lunch, four members will be elected to the chapters board of directors to succeed outgoing directors Kevin Hennessy, Fred Buckland, Scot Johnson, and a vacant spot. Gary DeSmith, Art Mugalian, Brenda Himrich, and Fred Buckland have agreed to run. Anyone else interested in running for a two-year term may contact Nominating Committee Chair Art Mugalian at 612-721-2825, email@example.com. Nominations will also be open during the business meeting. Candidates were invited to submit a statement; the statements submitted are below.
Candidates may want to mark their calendars for Sunday, June 5, when the chapter board of directors will meet and elect officers for the 2011-2012 year. The board meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. at the home of Stew Thornley and Brenda Himrich in Roseville. At this meeting, the incoming board members and holdover board members will elect, from among themselves, a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer to a one-year term that will begin July 1. (A description of the duties for these offices is within the chapter procedures on the chapter website.) Other than the elections at this board meeting, only the outgoing and holdover board members will be allowed to vote on chapter business because the board term of the incoming members will not begin until July 1.
Other upcoming events:
The Halsey Hall chapter book clubs next selections are Ring Lardners You Know Me Al and Mark Harriss Bang the Drum Slowly. The latter is also a movie, the story of a tobacco-chewing catcher with Hodgkins disease and the close friendship that develops between him and the teams star pitcher as a result of the illness. Starring Robert Di Niro and Michael Moriarty with a stirring performance by Vincent Gardenia as manager Dutch Schnell. 96 minutes, rated PG. The book club will meet on Saturday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. at the Barnes and Noble cafe in Har Mar Mall in Roseville. Har Mar Mall is located on Snelling Avenue about a mile and a half north of the state fairgrounds. For more information, contact Tom Dolen at 651-483-8617 or Art Mugalian at 612-721-2825.
SABR 41 will be held from Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 10 in Long Beach, California. The convention will be at the Hilton Long Beach & Executive Center (701 West Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach 90831-3102, 562-983-3400), which has a special convention rate of $119 per night for guest rooms. The convention will include trips to a Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres game and a Los Angeles Angels-Seattle Mariners game.
The 2012 SABR Convention will be in Minneapolis.
After a little investigation I discovered SABR. The SABR organization has fueled my passion for baseball and its rich history. I find the local chapter has so many interesting aspects, like the book club, the Hot Stove Saturday Morning gatherings and all the research possibilities. And it is because of the positives I see in this chapter that I would be interested in a board position. I believe I can put my organizational skills to work and help make the chapters events, and the organization as a whole, even stronger.
I still do not know if Earl Battey is credited with the first earflap on a batting helmet but I know I have friends with the ability and desire to find the answer.
My mission will be to strengthen all facets of the local organization, but especially to encourage individual and group research projects, something I think our chapter excels in. Im confident that our convention book will be outstanding. We can use that as a springboard for future projects.
Finally, we all need to help bring new members to Halsey Hall and SABR. New people and fresh ideas are the lifeblood of any organization. New members need to know that the benefits of joining SABR can be enormous for all of us.
I was 12 before I saw a baseball game at the Metropolitan Stadium. My memory is that it was a double header and I saw Harmon Killebrew (my Grandfathers hero) hit a grand slam home run in the first game and a home run in the second. Research has not confirmed this memory. This does not trouble me, since I understand how our memories work.
As I grew older my understanding of the game became more sophisticated. I came to appreciate the pitching as well as the batting. I started watching how the players backed each other up.
I also should confess that I became a real fan in 1987. I jumped on the bandwagon and have not gotten off. I broke my telephone when I through in frustration at not being able to get tickets to the World Series. I managed to get tickets by whining and complaining and telling everyone I knew how bad I wanted to see a game. A friend who is the cousin of Jerry Bell gave me a ticket to game 6. All this before I ever met Stew Thornley.
When Stew introduced me to SABR I believe it added a new dimension to my appreciation of the game. It was as if adding a historical perspective to the game added the mustard and ketchup to the hotdog. Understanding the statistics was the onions and relish.
I have served on the board for SABR from 1994 to 1996. I find that SABR members are a great group of guys to work with.
A page with instructions for chapter and committee leaders is available on the site.
All SABR members are receiving weekly notices with updates from committees and chapters and messages from SABRNation. Members may change their preferences to receive the notices in a daily digest or even for each individual notice. For those wishing to not receive any of the discussions that take place in the new SABRNation group, instructions are available.
The Spring 2011 SABR Bulletin is now on-line. This issue contains an obituary for Glenn Gostick.
Todd Peterson was a finalist for the 2011 Larry Ritter Award for Early Black Baseball in Minnesota. The Ritter Award is given by the SABR Deadball Era Committee for the best book related to the deadball era published in the previous year. The winner of the 2011 Ritter Award is Kate Buford for Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe.
May 14Spring Chapter Meeting. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.
May 22Research and Convention Committee. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.
June 4Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner and Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris. For more information, contact Tom Dolen, 651-483-8617, or Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.
June 5Halsey Hall Chapter Board Meeting, 6 p.m. For more information, contact Kevin Hennessy, 651-492-2298.
Summer 2012SABR Convention, Minneapolis